John Rea

Began his career as a sign painter in Coney Island

John Rea
Interview Date:
August 15 2010



John Rea is currently an advertising professional and adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York, but he began his career as a young teenager working for his father, also John Rea, in the Peluso Machine and Iron Works shop in Coney Island.  The shop was responsible for creating replacement parts for countless rides in Coney Island. John talks about his father teaching him the tool and die trade and then sending him off to intern at Ruby's Sign shop to learn sign painting when he showed artistic talent.  Soon, John was painting signs all over Coney Island and continued doing so throughout the 1970's as he completed high school, college and even on the weekends after he landed his first job out of school working for Rolling Stone Magazine.

John shares the insight of a true Coney Island insider about amusements from the past as well as new additions like Luna Park.  His son, Jace, is pictured here atop the Steeplechase horse in the Coney Island History Project. The day of the interview was Jace's first visit to Coney Island since he was a baby and John planned to take him on a few rides